Friday, July 06, 2007

Oh Say Can You See...

'Toothpicks, 2007' (60 x 99") © Chris Jordan, Von Lintel Gallery - and nope, these aren't your amber waves of grain.

Images of America's waste and garbage - from paper bags to plastic bottles to cigarettes to jet trails to SUVs to pain killers to cellphones to shipping containers and to the amount of money at the rate of $12 million dollars an hour that is being thrown into the bottomless pit of Iraq and terrorism as you read this.

just in time for LIVE EARTH DAY on 7.7.07, the introduction by artist chris jordan below is a more accurate picture of america to look at after the 4th of july celebrations.

most of us reading this post can see, right? so these images of scale are always visually helpful when you are trying to see things in perspective.

aside from the more than three thousand young american lives who have perished in an endless war since 9/11, here's what's been thrown, burned, and frittered away plain and simple, and fairly soon, we'll all be choking on it.


Moving Beyond Kyoto July 1, 2007 : 6:27 AM

WE -- the human species -- have arrived at a moment of decision. It is unprecedented and even laughable for us to imagine that we could actually make a conscious choice as a species, but that is nevertheless the challenge that is before us.

Our home -- Earth -- is in danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.

Without realizing the consequences of our actions, we have begun to put so much carbon dioxide into the thin shell of air surrounding our world that we have literally changed the heat balance between Earth and the Sun. If we don’t stop doing this pretty quickly, the average temperature will increase to levels humans have never known and put an end to the favorable climate balance on which our civilization depends.

- Al Gore


Running the Numbers
An American Self-Portrait

This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on.

My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs.

My only caveat about this series is that the prints must be seen in person to be experienced the way they are intended. As with any large artwork, their scale carries a vital part of their substance which is lost in these little web images. Hopefully the JPEGs displayed here might be enough to arouse your curiosity to attend an exhibition, or to arrange one if you are in a position to do so. The series is a work in progress, and new images will be posted as they are completed, so please stay tuned.

~chris jordan, Seattle, 2007

This series will be exhibited at the Von Lintel Gallery in New York from June 14th to the end of July.

More info at

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